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In brief

Surviving School Leadership. By Cliff Cook and Kevin Chamberlain. Pearson Publishing. pound;30.

Looking at some of the lingering dugout shots of football club managers under pressure leaves you convinced that the Victorian condition known as apoplexy is alive and well in the Premier League. And yet, as Cliff Cook and Kevin Chamberlain remind us here, it's reckoned that being a head is only marginally less stressful than being an under-pressure coach losing his rag pitch-side.

With that in mind, they've given us a pack that looks more to the person than to the management task, with chapters on, for example, assertiveness, motivation, emotional intelligence, team building and coaching. Usefully, it draws together conclusions and case studies from a wide range of sources across management, learning theory, leadership and psychology.

This is a very human book, filled with understanding for the secret frailties that assail every headteacher, followed up by good advice on how to deal with them. The authors are particularly sharp on everyday discourse with colleagues; on the art of listening, for example, they note: "It is really tempting to interject with an anecdote about ourselves." How many of us feel a stab of guilt at that?

The book has tasks and templates for action, which extend its usefulness beyond the individual to, for example, in-house professional development sessions.


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